Steady Progress on MBMs During Intersessional IMO Meeting
Steady progress was made in considering the development of suitable market-based measures (MBMs) for international shipping, at the third intersessional meeting of IMO’s Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) from Ships, held at IMO’s London Headquarters, from 28 March to 1 April 2011.
The GHG Working Group will report its conclusions to IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), when it meets for its 62nd session from 11 to 15 July 2011.
The Working Group, which was attended by more than 200 experts from all over the world, was tasked with providing advice on, among other subjects, the compelling need and purpose of MBMs as possible mechanisms to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping and further evaluating the outcome of work conducted last year by an Expert Group, which had carried out a feasibility study and impact assessment of several possible measures previously submitted by governments and observer organizations. The aim of the Expert Group study was also to assess the impact of the proposed MBMs on, among others, international trade, the maritime sector of developing countries least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), as well as the corresponding environmental benefits.
Following completion of the Expert Group’s study, some of the proposed MBMs have been combined or further developed by their respective proponents and, in examining the proposals, last week’s Working Group held an extensive exchange of views on issues related to, inter alia, the desirability of MBMs providing: certainty in emission reductions or carbon price; revenues for mitigation, adaptation and capacity building activities in developing countries; incentives for technological and operational improvements in shipping; and offsetting opportunities. Based on such policy considerations, the Working Group then formulated advice to the MEPC, in accordance with its Terms of Reference, related to: the grouping of the MBMs; the strengths and weaknesses of the groups; their relation to relevant international conventions; and the aforementioned possible impacts.
The advice so formulated will now assist the Committee to determine, in accordance with its specific action plan for MBMs, future work by the Organization, including, as identified by the Working Group, further in-depth examination of the impact of MBMs on developing countries.
The MBM proposals under review ranged from a contribution or levy on all CO2 emissions from international shipping or only from those ships not meeting the requirements of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), via emission trading systems, to schemes based on a ship’s actual efficiency, both by design (EEDI) and operation, based on the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP)).
The EEDI and SEEMP, which are technical and operational measures aimed at reduction of GHG emissions from ships, have been circulated for voluntary use by IMO and discussions on making them mandatory under the MARPOL convention will take place at MEPC 62.